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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, February 22, 2013

President Obama and his Administration is going 50/50 with Big Oil and Wildlife as the 23 million acre National Petroleum Reserve is opened for Oil and Gas exploration in Alaska...............Of course, Alaska officials are criticizing the fact that half of the acreage will be protected for the Western Arctic Caribou herd and all of the endemic creatures that occupy the land with them................

A 50/50 plan put in place by the Obama Administration as it opens up half of the National Petroleum Reserve for drilling and half for wildlife preservation
An "all of the above" Obama administration decision will divide an Indiana-sized chunk of Arctic Alaska almost evenly between drilling opportunities for Big Oil and conservation of caribou herds, destinations for migrating birds and subsistence habitat for Alaska Natives.
Outgoing U.S. Interior Sec. Ken Salazar, announcing a final plan for the 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve,  said the division will "expand our leasing" for oil and natural gas, while at the same time "protecting the outstanding and unique resources that are critically important to the culture and subsistence lifestyle of Alaska natives and our nation's conservation heritage."

Caribou in northern Alaska. The huge Western Arctic Caribou Herd, with 325,000 animals, is protected by Obama administration plan.

The plan will open 11.8 million acres to oil and gas leasing, containing about 72 percent of recoverable reserves, which Big Oil and its allies in Congress were quick to say is not enough.
"Only in President Obama's backwards worldview of anti-energy policies does it make sense to prohibit energy production in a place specifically set aside for energy production at a time when gasoline prices are skyrocketing and federal oil and natural gas production declining," said Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
As with much of what he says here in the "lower 48," Hastings' assertions about Alaska's North Slope are open to question and dispute.
Domestic oil production in the United States is higher than it has been in nearly a decade, while natural gas production has reached record levels.  U.S. dependence on foreign oil has dipped below 50 percent, its lowest level since 1995.  The Interior Department collected $12.15 billion from leasing last year, a $1 billion increase over the year before.
The environmental community, in large part, praised the Obama administration for striking a balance.
"Protecting the caribou herds' migration corridors, calving grounds, insect relief area and wintering grounds will protect Alaska Natives' way of life for now and in the future," said Cindy Shogun of the Alaska Wilderness League.  The National Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club also praised the decision.

Interior Secretary Salazar: The Obama divides 23-million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska between oil production and conservation.He (Getty Images)

The Petroleum Reserve was designated by President Warren G. Harding on a 1923 trip to Alaska, and was originally designed to provide a reserve of coal supplies for U.S. Navy ships.
Its other values have come into focus in recent years.  The Reserve is home to the 325,000 animals of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, and 55,000 caribou in the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd.
Migrating birds fly thousands of miles to Teshekpuk Lake, located west of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields.  The Reserve is home to musk oxed, barren ground grizzly bears, wolves and wolverines.  The Colville River is a major raptor habitat, notably for gyrfalcons.
By preserving half of it, the Obama administration "caved in to environmental special interest groups," claimed Alaska's Rep. Don Young.

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